Hospitalized COVID-19 Patients Have More, More Severe Complications vs Patients with Influenza

October 23, 2020
Grace Halsey
Grace Halsey

The first study to compare COVID-19 and influenza complications in hospitalized patients found COVID-19 patients more likely to be admitted to ICU and to die.


Patients hospitalized with COVID-19 experienced many more—and more serious—complications than patients admitted with influenza. COVID-19 patients had longer inpatient stays, were more likely to be admitted to intensive care, and more likely to die.


These findings come from a study from the US Veterans Health Administration published in the British Medical Journal on October 22, 2020. It is likely the first study to report comparative data for in-hospital complications between patients infected with the 2 circulating respiratory viruses.

The study compared in-hospital complications experienced by 3948 patients with laboratory- confirmed COVID-19 admitted to a VA hospital between March 1 and May 31, 2020 with those of 5453 patients with confirmed flu admitted between October 1, 2018 and February 1, 2020. COVID-19 patients were slightly older than flu patients (mean 70 vs 69 years).


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